Literary Genres: Novels for Young Adults

Abdel-Fattah, Randa. TEN THINGS I HATE ABOUT ME. Orchard Books: New York, 2009. 297p. 
        ISBN978-0-545-05055-5 hb. $16.99  Gr. 8+   YA 

        Jamie wants to be a normal Australian teenaged girl and fit in with her peers at school.  But she's also Jamilah, a second-generation Muslim Lebanese-Australian who loves her family's culture and playing in her Arabic band.  She dyes her hair blonde and wears contacts to fit in with the cool kids in a school where minorities are looked down upon, and finds herself leading a double life.  And those two lives are on a high-speed collision course when she finds out that her band gets a gig - at her school's formal dance!
       
This second book by Abdel-Fattah really puts this author among my favorites for young adult fiction.  Her books are current and pertinent, and her heroines are incredibly realistic, incredibly well-rounded, teenage girls.   Also, Jamie/Jamilah is a good study of how second-generation immigrants can struggle to bridge their family's culture and the dominant culture of their home country.

        
Jessica Holman, Training and Web Development, Superiorland Library Cooperative

Albert, Louise.  LESS THAN PERFECT.  New York: Holiday House, 2003. 188p. 
          ISBN: 9780823416882  hb. $17.95.    Gr. 8-12    Y.A.

          Fifteen year old Larua has a hard time dealing with the fact that her mother has cancer, especially when she has just 
met a boy who she wants to spend time with.  The character's feelings about the cancer diagnosis and treatment regime ring 
true.  Laura's anxieties and doubts are typical of a teenage girl's thoughts.  There is an instance of teenage drinking and how 
the parents and teens deal with it.  Even though the main character's mother has cancer, the focus of the book is on how 
Laura and her friends deal with everyday situations while making the transition from adolescent to adult.
          Denise Engel, Director, Wakefield Public Library

Bell, Cathleen Davitt.  SLIPPING.  New York: Bloomsbury, 2008. 215p.
          ISBN: 1-59990-258-6 hb. $16.99.  Gr. 8-12   YA FIC

          Michael Kimmel barely knew his grandfather, who recently died in an isolated cabin in Vermont. Then Michael 
begins to have bizarre dreamlike experiences that draw him into his greandfather's memories and to a river in an alternate 
world.  Michael senses that these trips are dangerous and might lead to his own death.  A visit to a psychic convinces him 
that he is in real danger.  The puzzling flights of fantasy aren't resolved until Michael and his father visit the cabin where 
Grandfather died, leading to a final trip to the river that settles the family's entrenched bitterness.  Bell creates a genuinely 
creepy and surreal scene as Michael psychically journeys among the dead,and she anchors the fantasy elements with well 
wrought scences of unresolved family conflicts. The balance between the supernatural and the realism of genuine human 
feelings creates a compelling mix of storytelling and mystery. 
          Phyllis King, Librarian, North Central Area Schools

Calonita, Jan.  SECRETS OF MY HOLLYWOOD LIFE.  New York:  Little, Brown & Co.,
        2006.  242p.  ISBN: 0-316-15442-3 hb. $16.99.   Gr. 6-9   YA Fic

        Many teenage girls would give anything to live the life of a teen Hollywood star.  Attending premiers, wearing designer clothes, hanging out with other celebrities.  All Kaityln Burke wants is a chance to experience a 'normal' teen life. Kaitlyn is the star of a highly successful, long-running show called Family Affair.  She plays the 'good twin' to her co-star Sky Mckenzie's role as the twin who always causes the problems.  The stress of tabloid news, her parents and agent push to get more roles in movies leaves Kaitlyn longing for a 'normal' life outside the Hollywood swirl.  With her best non-celebrity friend Liz, they plot out a plan to integrate Katelyn into Liz's high school disguised as a transfer student from England, Rachael.  But the only way Kaitlyn's family and publicity agent will agree to the arrangement is for Kaitlyn to maintain her schedule of interviews and appearances as her celebrity self.  The stress of living two lives is almost worse than the stress of her celebrity life.  When Sky "outs' her at the school's spring dance, Kaitlyn thinks both of her lives are ruined.  But clever maneuvering by Laney, her publicity agent, puts Kaitlyn back on top including landing the lead role with a movie director she's longed to work for. Author Jen Calonita is well-prepared to write this book having worked as a journalist in the entertainment industry for many years.  Some teen girls will enjoy this inside view of the Hollywood life, including many details about designer clothes and shops.  Others will find this story to be as light and superficial as the TV soap opera Kaityln stars in.  
        Mary Cary Crawford, Retired Director, Escanaba Public Library, Escanaba, MI

Calonita, Jen.  SLEEPAWAY GIRLS.  New York:  Little, Brown, and Company 2009.
       297p.  ISBN: 978-0-316-01717-6 hb. $16.99     Gr. 9-12   Y.A.  

      After her best friend attaches herself to Samantha's first boyfriend, she is determined to spend her summer  elsewhere and 
ends up as a counselor in training at a summer camp.   By the end of the summer she acquires an arch enemy as well as three 
best buds and a new boyfriend.  She does find out that good men are by far the best boyfriends. It tells of her jealous encounter 
with the camp director’s daughter and their forced uneasy truce; and from her early video postcards back home to her 
Sleepaway Girls testament to the camp season.   The pifcture perfect setting, the sweet little lies, the seductive freedom from 
parents, and the lure of adult-like responsibility make this the perfect read.
      Phyllis King, North Central Area Schools, Librarian

Campbell, Chelsea.  THE RISE OF RENEGADE X. Egmont USA. 2010. 354p.
               ISBN 978-1606840603 hb. $17.99       Gr. 9-12      Y.A.

               Damien is the son of a supervillan.  When he turns sixteen, he’s hoping to a “V” on his thumb, meaning “Villan.”  
Instead, he gets an “X,” which means he’s half villan and half hero.  The next step is to find his dad, who turns out to be the 
biggest hero in the city.  Still intent on being a villan, Damien goes to live with his date, step-mom, and siblings, thinking he still 
might change his “X” into a “V.”    His new environment starts to have an influence on him, as well as a new friend, a girl from 
school who has him rethinking if he wants a “V” or an “H.”  To further complicate things, his mother plans to take over the entire 
city, pushing Damien into a decision about his own destiny.
               Olivia Manictowabi, Student, Nah Tah Wahsh Public School Academy, Hannahville, MI

Cook, Trish and Brendan Halpin.  NOTES FROM THE BLENDER.  New York: Egmont,
               2011.  229p. ISBN: 978-1-60684-140-2 hb.  $16.99    Gr. 8-12    Y.A.

               Declan loves death metal,and videos.  He goes to school with Neilly Foster and spends most of his classroom time 
wondering what it would be like to talk to her or date her.    She is the queen of the cool.   She ends up being dumped by her 
boyfriend and betrayed by her best friend and, if that isn’t bad enough, she is getting a new brother.  Declan's dad is marrying 
Neilly's mom which means they will be living in the same house.   Typical teenage situation today with a great ending.
               Phyllis  King, Librarian North Central Area School. Jr.and Sr. High

Cooner, Donna. SKINNY.   New York:  Point/Imprint of Scholastic Press,  2012.  260p. 
          ISBN 978-0-545-42763-0 hc. $17.99  Gr. 6 and up.  YA Fiction

          At over 300 pounds, Ever’s life is a never-ending series of difficulty and embarrassment.  Her high school classes present the challenge of finding a desk she can fit into.  Simply walking down the narrow class aisles is an agony; trying not to brush against other students or knock their possessions off their desks, dealing with their snickering and eye rolls.
         
Ever’s weight began to spiral out of control after her mother died. She began to use food for comfort, remembering the guilty pleasures she shared with mother.  She and her mother shared the same body shape, predilection to game weight and love of food. Although her stepmother is not the cruel stepmother of fairytales, Ever has difficulty in accepting her as her father’s wife. She feels as though she’s among aliens with her two skinny, popular step-sisters. Making her life even more miserable is the vicious inner voice, Skinny, who constantly whispers the cruel comments that she imagines others are saying about her; the thoughts that she thinks of herself.
         
Rat, a boy she has known since childhood, is her one true friend. When she decides to look into gastric by-pass surgery, he stands by her and encourages her to have the surgery after finding out that Ever’s health is in danger because of her obesity. Although her father is fearful, considering the risks of the surgery, he backs her decision after assuring her that he loves her as she is. Ever’s slow transformation, self- acceptance and realization that many of the opinions she had about classmates, her family and herself were colored by her own self-loathing. As she silences Skinny’s destructive voice, her final act of courage will be a satisfying end for readers.  
         
Cooner is well qualified to write about gastric by-pass and how the problems that excessive weight impact life. Her compassionate insights were earned by her own experiences. She gives the valuable insight that by-pass surgery is not a magic want; that maintaining a healthy weight will be a life-long battle. Perhaps, equally valuable, is the advice to love and appreciate yourself; you are so much more than the number on the scale.  
         
Barb Ward, Retired Librarian,  Dickinson County Library

Craft, Elizabeth and Sarah Fain. FOOTFREE AND FANCYLOOSE. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2008.  
          423p.  ISBN: 978-0-316-05795-0  hb. $16.99.    Gr. 9-12     Y.A.

          This sequel to Bassackwards and Belly Up a an entertaining story about four young women and their "Year of Dreams."  
Becca is a college skier who's dream is to fall in love.  She finds many roadblocks in the way to building a relationship with the 
object of her desire, Stuart.  Sophie is an aspiring actress who has moved to southern California to pursue her dream and finds 
that dealing with people “in the business’ isn’t as pleasant as she thought it would be.  Harper is an aspiring writer who was 
rejected from the only college she applied to.  Instead, she’s living in her parent's basement, trying to write the "next great novel" 
and working as a barista to earn her rent.  Last of the group is Kate, a girl who lives "by the books" with her whole life mapped 
outbefore her. Her plan was to attend Harvard, but decided to "find herself" on a tour through Europe.  While doing this she 
joined a group of volunteers to help bring wells to Africa.  The authors invite readers to share a year in the life of four best friends 
and their adventures.
          Melissa Coyne, Taquahmenon Falls School Public Library, Newberry, MI

Curtis, Christopher Paul.  BUCKING THE SARGE.  New York:  Random House, 2004.
        259p. ISBN: 0-385-32307-7 hb. $15.95    Gr. 9-12   YA

        Luther T. Farrell has a most unusual life for a fifteen year old boy living in Flint, Michigan's inner city.  For the past two years, he's been in charge of a crew of men who live in adult foster care.  His ambitious mother, the Sarge, is a malicious slum lord who also runs the chain of adult foster care homes.  Luther spends his time living in fear of his mother and thinking of ways to release himself from her iron-fisted control.  The only thing keeping him tied to her and his job is the education fund that the Sarge puts his wages into.  The education fund and the science fair, which he's already won for the last two years, are his keys to college and a better way of life.  The character development in this book is marvelous.  Readers will know someone in their own lives just like Sparky, Mr. X, and Darnell Dixon.  Although most teens don't live in the same environment that Luther does, they can relate to his emotions and his outlook on life.  Every school and public library should have this engaging and entertaining book.
        Lynette Suckow, Peter White Public Library, Marquette, MI

Day, Susie. MY INVISIBLE BOYFRIEND.  New York: Scholastic Press, 2009.   275p.
      ISBN: 978-0-545-07354-7 hb.  $16.99.       Gr. 8-12        Y.A.

      MY INVISIBLE BOYFRIEND follows the story of Heidi and the students at the boarding school where her parents 
work.After moving many times due to her parent's jobs, Heidi finally feels as if she has made some friends.  On the first day 
of school, all her friends seem to get boyfriends, and she feels left out, so she begins to make up a boyfriend for herself.  
As this goes on, she seems to be losing her friends and finding out information about them through their talks with her "boyfriend".  This is a funny and engaging story that ends with a twist.  It will keep you guessing and giggling throughout.
      Melissa Coyne, Patron, Munising School Public Library

Deuker, Carl.  NIGHT HOOPS.  Boston:  Houghton, 2000.  212p.
        0-395-97936-6; hb. $15.00.    99-47882    Gr. 7+    FIC

        Nick’s father only has time for his older brother Scott until Scott decides he wants to play in the band instead of play basketball.  Then Nick is in for his father’s overbearing advice about playing basketball.  The basketball court in the back yard contributes to the breakdown of the Abbott family because Nick’s father tears out his wife’s rose bushes to create the court.  A separation follows.  It is on this court that Nick plays one on one with a troublesome neighbor, Trent.  It is also the place where Trent practices alone.  Basketball is the glue that holds this book together and is part of Nick’s relationship with his father, his mother, his brother, his coach, his teammate (Luke), and his neighbor (Trent).  Trent’s older brother is the traditional bad boy from a bad family and is involved because he hurt Scott’s girlfriend’s mentally handicapped brother.
    Comparing this book to ON THE DEVIL’S COURT (Houghton, 1988), Deuker’s masterpiece,  is probably not fair because that book is exemplary from beginning to end.  This new book continues the tradition until the ending, which is weak.   However, the ending will not deter sports readers from savoring this book.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center

Dunlap, Susanne.  IN THE SHADOW OF THE LAMP.  New York: Bloomsbury, 2011.  293p.
      ISBN: 978-1-59990-565-5 hb. $16.99    Gr. 8-12    Y.A.

      The year is 1854 and Molly, who is 16, would give anything to change her circumstances as a lowly servant in a posh London house.   So when she has of an opportunity to join the nurses who will be traveling with Florence Nightingale to the Crimea, she jumps at the chance.  The work is grueling, the conditions at the hospital are awful, and Florence a very strick boss.   The plight of the British Soldiers becomes risky.   Molly then finds herself falling in love with two men.   Can she handle new relationships when war is everywhere around her?  This is a love story for sure and a fasinationg behind-the-scenes war imagery.   

      
Phyllis King, North Central Area Schools Libraian

Duble, Kathleen.  PHANTOMS IN THE SNOW.  New York: Scholastic, 2011.
               226p. ISBN: 978-0-545-19770-0 hb.  $17.99.    Gr. 8-12  Y.A.

               This is a story about World War II and a decision that is made by a young boy as he faces the reality of war.   The year is 
1944 and fifteen year old Noah Garretts parents have died from smallpox.  without family nearby, he is sent to live with his uncle whom
 he has neve met and lives in Camp Hale, Colorado.  There is one small problem with this decision, Noah has been raised a pacifist and 
Camp Hale is a U.S. military base for a little known division of winter warfare soldiers called Phantoms.  Can a boy who's never seen 
snow and doesnt believe in war survive amoung these soldiers?.   It was an amazing story and so interesting to me as my dad served in 
World War II.  This was an entirely different aspect to the view points of war.
               Phyllis King, North Central Area Schools Jr. and Sr. High School

Dunlap, Susanne.  MUSICIAN'S DAUGHTER. New York: Bloomsbury USA Children's 
        Books., 2009.  317p.  978-1-59990-332-3; Hardcover. $16.99.    Gr. 7-12     YA

        When fifteen-year old Theresa's father, a musician, is found dead and his valuable violin missing on Christmas Eve, she is 
determined to solve the mystery of his death. Her journey will take her from the beauty and splendor of imperialist Austria to a 
Gypsy encampment and will uncover the secrets of her father's hidden life. Murder, romance and a glimpse into life in a 
long-gone era make this mystery an intriguing read.

       
Barb Ward, Children's Librarian, Retired, Dickinson County Library

Elkeles, Simone.  RULES OF ATTRACTION. New York: Walker & Company, 2010.  324p.
      ISBN: 978080272085 hb. $16.99.  Gr. 8-12     YA

      Carlos Fuentes is trouble.  He's been living in Mexico since his ex-gang member brother forced him to leave Chicago.  
His brother was trying to keep Carlos from getting mixed up with the Latino Blood.  But sending Carlos away hasn't helped 
at all.  In fact, his current involvement in Guerreros del Barrio is exactly what's gotten him sent away again- this time to Boulder, 
Colorado, where his reformed brother is attending school.  But Carlos' old life style isn't one from which he can simply 
walk away.  When Carlos is busted with drugs in his locker, he's left with a court order for a new guardian- one of his 
brother's weird college professors.  At his new home, there are rules, a little brother who's constantly bugging, and worst of all,
Kiara, the strange girl at his school.  She is nothing like the girls Carlos is used to.  She wears baggy t-shirts, is into hiking, and 
serves as a peer guide for new students at Flat Iron High School.  Suprisingly, Carlos finds himself falling for her.  But just as he 
begins to imagine a life free of guns and gangs, his past threatens to get in the way of everything.  
      Rules of Attraction is an easy read that would most likely appeal to high school girls.  However, the story is completely 
predictable- from the time Carlos and Kiara first butt heads to their prom date. Readers will find their banter equally predictable. 
Carlos' character does evolve somewhat through the story, but the solution to his problem is unrealistic and requires so much 
conformity that it he becomes unbelievable.  
      Megen Hood, Reading Specialist - 2nd grade Teacher - Engadine Library

Ellsworth, Loretta.  IN A HEARTBEAT.  NY: Walker & Company, c.2010.
          216p. ISBN: 978-0802720689 hb. $16.99   Gr. 8-12    Y.A.

          What is like to be waiting for a heart, knowing that some other young person will have to die so that you can live. 
What is it like after the heart transplant operation,  knowing you have another persons' heart in your body.  Having to take 
medication so that your body does not reject this strangers heart. What if you want to get to know the family of the person 
who gave you a chance to live? What if you want to get to know what the donor was like, because you are getting feelings 
of rebellion you never had before the new heart. Are these your true feelings coming out do they belong to your donor?
          Not that all these questions are answered in this book, but you do travel through the lives of two families, one whose 
daughter died and donated her heart, and one whose daughter is still alive because of a heart transplant.  You meet both girls, 
Eagan and Amelia, learn about their lives just before the transplant, then after the transplant. While Eagan is trying to come to 
terms with her sudden death, Amelia is trying to come to terms with how she feels about receiving the heart and her chance to 
live. For those curious souls who are interested in a peek into other peoples lives, choices, and beliefs. A good read.
          Bronwen Stair, Gerrish-Higgins School District Public Library, Roscommon, MI 

Fantaskey, Beth.  JEKEL LOVES HYDE.  New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010.
            282p ISBN: 978-0-15-206390-0 hb. $17.00.   Gr. 9-12     YA

            JEKEL LOVES HYDE is a romantic fantasy about a teenage girl, Jill Jekel, who's father died mysteriously and lost all of her college fund. She has always been a good girl who did what her parents asked. Now that she has no money to pay for college, she has to find a way to earn tuition.  She decides to enter a chemistry contest and agrees to work with Tristin Hyde as her partner. Jill finds some experiments that her father was working on. She and Tristin try to recreate the experiments and, in the process save Tristin, who is cursed. As they finish the experiment, Jill is accidentally cursed with the potion, which makes her behave very badly.  As Tristin tries to cure her, their new romance is tested, and they find out how strong their love really is.
            Melissa Coyne, Patron, Munising School Public Library, Munising, MI

Ferris, Jean.  EIGHT SECONDS.  San Diego:  Harcourt, 2000.  186p.
        0-15-202367-4; hb.  $17.00.   99-48796     Gr. 7-12.    FIC

        John, an eighteen-year-old high school senior, his friend Bobby, and Russ, the local bully, go to rodeo school where they meet a college student, Kit.  John and Kit become friends.  "The way I was talking to Kit wasn’t a way I’d ever talked to Bobby, and he was my best friend.  This was something new and personal and daring, like driving too fast on an unfamiliar road.  Like getting on a bull’s back."   Then John learns from his sister, who goes to the same college as Kit, that he is in a gay activist group on campus.  John begins to question himself and betrays a friendship.
        John is a fully developed character who has three sister and a relationship with his parents and friends.  He even has a health history that put him a grade behind his peers.  Within the macho setting of rodeo bull riding,  this first person story helps readers learn about self and sexual orientation in a non sensational way.
        Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center

Freymann-Weyr, Garret.  THE KINGS ARE ALREADY HERE.  New York:  
        Houghton Mifflin, 2003.  149p.  ISBN: 0-618-26363-2   Gr. 7-11   YA FIC

        The two main characters in this book have devoted their young lives to pursuits which, it turns out, have a great deal in common - ballet and chess.  Fifteen-year-old Phebe Knight, the child of "an accidental affair," lives in New York with her journalist mother who believes Phebe needs a change of scene and a new ballet instructor to help re-focus her energy on her dancing.  Phebe reluctantly agrees; she has noticed that it no longer concerns her that she is not at the top of her form.
        The solution is to send Phebe to Geneva to live with her diplomat father, Clarence Aldridge, while she studies ballet in Switzerland. It is there that she meets Nikolai, a 16-year-old gifted chess player who had been taken under the wing of Phebe's dad. Of course he was displaced when Phebe arrived. But no worries - Nikolai would go to live with dad's girlfriend, Isabelle, who bears a startling resemblance to Phebe's mother.
        The two young people discover that ballet and chess have some things in common: chess and ballet moves are choreographed and their performances are always being judged and evaluated.  In this international setting, the plot revolves around trying to locate the elusive, famous Stanislav Vlajnik, a chess grand master whom Nikolai believes holds the key to becoming a grand master himself. The search by Phebe and Nikolai for Vlajnik, the subsequent travels, and the cast of complex characters with their philosophical musings makes this an interesting book for teenagers and parents, as well.  Author Garret Freymann-Weyt grew up in New York City and spent part of every year in Geneva with her career-diplomat grandfather. Sound familiar?
        Judy Bennett, Ironwood Carnegie Library Clerk, Ironwood, MI

Friedman, Aimee.  SEA OF CHANGES.  New York:  Point, 2009.  294p.
     ISBN: 9730439922289 hb. $16.99.     Gr. 9-12     Y.A.

     16-year-old Miranda Merchant, a  no-frills, serious student of science and chemistry, tries to ignore the words of warning by an old 
sailor on her ferry trip to Selkie Island, where she is to spend the summer in her mother's ancestral summer home. But a book of island
 legends about Mermen and mermaids seems to be beckoning her. And  when Miranda falls for the mysterious Leo, a local fisherman's 
son with unusual sea-green eyes, her notion of the world as her scientific mind knows it,is changed forever.  This mixture of sea-faring 
legends, spoiled, rich fashion-oriented teenagers, and an independent-minded teen trying to remain anchored within her own values is 
atmospheric, breezy  and includes enough romantic twists and mystery to entice many teen girls.
     Mary Olmsted. Librarian, Tahquamenon Area School Public Library, Newberry, MI

Galante, Cecilia.  THE SWEETNESS OF SALT. New York: Bloomsbury Books, 2010.
      305p. ISBN: 978-1-59990-512-9 hb. $16.00.    Gr. 8-12    Y.A.

      This is a very powerful book about family and growing up. Julia is graduating from high school and is the valedictorian of her class.  Her sister, Sophie comes for the graduation, but at the family dinner after causes a big fight and storms off.  Julia, who thinks she has her life all planned out, starts
to doubt what she always believed and needs to find out what is behind all the fights between Sophie and her parents.  Determined to get to the bottom of the big family secret, Julia leaves for Vermont to confront Sophie. This story is a heart-warming tale of two sisters who discover a relationship both of the always needed, but were never able forge before.
       Melissa Coyne,  Patron, Munising School Public Library, Munising, MI

Gilbert, Barbara Snow.  STONE WATER.  Asheville, NC:  Front Street Press, 1996.  
        175 pgs.  1-886910-12-x pbk; $7.95  Gr. 9-12  YA  FIC

        Fifteen year old Grant's grandfather has been moved to the "other side" of the nursing home and his death is imminent.  Grandpa had given Grant an envelope to be opened if he was ever "moved to the other side."  The envelope contained a letter and cassette of a story told in Grandpa's voice - just like so many stories Grandpa had told Grant as a child.  However, this story hinted that it was the manly thing to do to accept and aid death when the time came. Grant struggled with a decision he knew he must make.  This story addresses the ethics of euthanasia in a sensitive way.  It is definitely not an action-packed story like so many other YA's of today, but will satisfy the reader looking to fiction to help with making adult choices.  I would recommend this as an addition to an already fully developed YA collection.
        Linda Cooley, L’Anse Area School Public Library

Grant, K.M.  PARADISE RED. Perfect Fire Trilogy.  New York: Walker and Company.
               2010.  276p. ISBN: 978-0-8027-9696-7 hb. $17.99  Gr. 8-12  Y.A.

               This is a saga about young love and a religious conflict that comes to a satisfying end. As winter falls upon the Occitan, Raimon 
must find a way to recover the Blue Flame from the hands of the evil White Wolf.  His plan could back fire and he might not be so lucky 
to escape from it again.    Yolanda is unwillingly married to Sir Hugh des Arcis is threatened by her husbands desire for a son.  As Sir 
Hugh sets off on a mission to claim the ocitain for France she makes her own journey through the blizzard to find Raimon , a journey that 
could end in disaster.  The ending is great and satisfying.
               Phyllis King, North Central Area Schools Jr. and Sr. High Librarian

Grant, K.M.  WHITE HEAT. The Perfect Fire Trilogy.  New York:  Walker &
      Company.  2008.  255p. ISBN: 0-8027-9695-8 hb. $16.99   Gr. 9-12    Y.A.

      This book is about Raimon who has escaped the pyre and is hiding deep within the mountains of the Occitan.  He longs to follow Yolanda to Paris, where she has been forced to marry Sir Hugh.  However, he knows he must instead fulfill his duty of protecting the Blue Flame and save their beloved country from the advancing forces set on destroying it.  In Paris, Yolanda believes Raimon is dead.  She still resists her marriage, and as Sir Hugh's war train, backed by the French King, now heads for the Occitan.  Yolanda must find new ways to fight.  Weaving a satisfying, complex tale, the author draws readers right back into a love triangle - intermingled with a tale of war.  Can their love survive the ravages of war. Yolanda’s forced marriage, and the divisions of Occitan, their homeland?   Read the book and see.  It’s an adventure from start to finish.
      Phyllis King, Librarian, North Central Area Schools

Hale, Shannon.  FOREST BORN.  The Books of Bayern Series.  New York:
       Bloomsbury,  2009.  389p.  ISBN: 1-59990-167-6 hb. $17.99  Gr. 8-12  Y.A.

       Rin is sure that something is wrong with her.  Something that is keeping her from feeling at home in the forest homestead where she's lived all her life.  Something that is keeping her from trusting herself with anyone at all.  When her brother Razo returns from  the city for a visit, she accompanies him, hoping that she can find peace away from home.  War has come to Bayern again, and Rin is compelled to join the queen and her closest allies.  Magical girls, known to Rin as the Fire Sisters, venture into Kel, the land where someone seems to want them all dead.  Many beloved Bayern characters reappear in this story but it is Rins own journey of discovering how to balance the good and the bad in herself that drives this compelling adventure.  Shannon Hale lives up to her reputation as a great contemporary writer as she makes Rin an inspiration for teens trying to make the best choices they can.  Make sure you put it on your reading list.
        Phyllis King, Librarian, North Central Area Schools

Haworth, Danette.  THE SUMMER OF MOONLIGHT SECRETS. New York: Walker &
      Company, 2010.  273p. ISBN: 978-0-8027-9520-5 hb. $16.99.    Gr. 7-12    JUV

      The Summer of Moonlight Secrets tells the story of Allie Jo, a girl whose parents run a hotel, and Chase, a boy who has come there to spend the summer with his dad. Allie Jo and Chase each meet Tara, a young girl who is running from a dark secret and needs their help to survive.  Tara's secret is something that no adult would believe, and Allie Jo has a hard time believing it too.  When a
strange man comes looking for Tara, Allie Jo mistakenly believes that she is helping Tara by telling him where she is. In the end, she realizes that Tara really needs her help and manages to save her friend. This is a suspense-filled book that will keep teens wanting to turn the page and find out what happens next.
      Melissa Coyne, Patron, Munising School Public Library, Munising, MI

Heggum, Lisa.  ALL SLEEK AND SKIMMING: STORIES.  Victoria, British Columbia, Canada: 
        Orca Book Publishers, 2006.  214p.  ISBN: 1-55143-447-4 hb.  $17.95    Gr. 10-12     YA

         This is an excellent collection of short stories, poetry and graphic short tales for the sophisticated teen reader.  Compiled by award-winning teen services librarian, Lisa Heggum, the 22 selections by Canadian writers cover themes central in the lives of many teens; relationships with family and friends, being a teen parent, abortion, death, abusive relationships, homosexuality as well as simple stories of kids just hanging out together.  Nearly all are set in Canada but this won't diminish their value to U.S. readers.  The writing is direct and deals frankly with topics that younger readers may not be ready for.  
               Mary Cary Crawford, Rertired Library Director, Escanaba Public Library

Hartinger, Brent.  GEOGRAPHY CLUB.   New York:  HarperCollins Children’s Books, 2005.  226p.    
          0-06-001221-8; hb.,  $15.99  0-06-001222-6;  lib.bdg.,  Gr. 9-12   YA Fiction.

          Russel Middlebrook is gay.  He thinks he is the only gay student in his high school until he discovers his on-line chat room buddy is the most popular “jock” at the school.  They meet and decide to form an after school support group for gay students, which they call the Geography Club.  Not only does this story wind its way through the lonely feelings of a gay teenager in high school, but it also has some surprising twists and turns with the issue of bullying at a high school.  The physical aspect of homosexuality is touched upon with kisses between couples.  Of concern to a school librarian, though, is the decision to include a book on homosexuality in the school’s collection.  Public librarians may feel s/he has more latitude in that decision for the collection with this book.  The book deals with current issues, but a librarian will need to know their patrons to decide if this book will become part of the collection.
          Chris Collin, L’Anse School/Public Library, Director

Heath, Jack.  THE LAB.  New York: Scholastic, 2008. 308p. ISBN: 10-0-545-06860-6 hb. $17.99     
          Gr. 9-12  YA FIC

         This action packed, steady paced book is a pager turner.  It begins in a futuristic polluted world of nine billion people.  The teenage Agent Six of Hearts belongs to a secret organganization called The Deck, set up to battles the excesses of ChaoSonic, the corporation that controls everything.  He is the product of a mysterious laboratory where bird, shark, and even plant genes were added to his DNA.  Agent Six has superhuman abilities and considers himself a machine until he meets a laughing reckless fellow, also the product of an experiment, with similar powers who prods him into accepting his humanity.  This personal progress is accomplished amidst a barrage of video game style spy stuff, battles, rescues, car chases, explosions, escapes, and surprisingly well-oiled wheels. Such a strong story must have more adventure ahead.  Stay tuned for sequels.      
         
Phyllis King, Librarian, North Central Area Schools

Hegamin, Tonya Cherie. M + O 4EVER.  New York:  Houghton Mifflin Company, 2008. 165p.   
          ISBN978-0-618-4970-2; hb., $16.00   Gr. 9-12  YA

          What do you do when your best friend is having trouble and you don’t know how to help?  And, worse yet, she takes matters into her own hands and ends her life.  How do you cope?  These are the problems facing O (Opal) faces in the story of M + O 4EVER.  She is a smart high school senior that must face some of the worst agonies of adolescence.  This is a story that any young adult could face.  It has an outcome that gives hope to life’s most traumatic events.  The librarian choosing this book should be aware of the homosexual slant to the relationship of the two girls.  
          Chris Collin, L’Anse School/Public Librar, L’Anse, MI

Hemphill, Helen.  LONG GONE DADDY.  Asheville, NC:  Front Street, 2006.
        175p.  ISBN: 1932425381 hb. $16.95.   Gr. 9-12   Y.A Fic

         Harlan Q is the teenage son of preacher Harlan P, whose father, Harlan O, has just returned to Bean Creek,Texas in time to die of a heart attack.  Harlan Q convinces his dad to return his grandfather's body to Las Vegas in order to receive the $50,000 inheritance money, a Cadillac, and to give himself a chance to get away from his father.  He learns alot about his father, himself, and life on this trip.  The characters are well developed and you feel like you are on the trip with them.  Harlan Q is a teenager, and the decisions he makes are based on his limited knowledge of life and his immaturity.  The book has a couple of instances of underage drinking and some foul language.
         Denise Engel, Director, Wakefield Public Library, Wakefield, MI

High, Linda Oatman.  SISTER SLAM AND THE POETIC MOTORMOUTH ROAD.  
         New York:  Bloomsbury, 2004.  256p.  ISBN 1-58234-948-7 hb.$16.95.  Gr. 9+   YA

         Sister Slam and Twig rhyme their way from Banesville to New York and back again.  They learn how to reconcile with their pasts and look forward to a brighter future.  This story of friendship, loss, and independence is written in the poetic form of slam poetry and includes some mature language.
           Kari Klaboe, K.I. Sawyer Learning Center and Library

Holland-Crossley, Kevin. CROSSING TO PARADISE.  New York: Arthur A. Levine Books, 2006.  
          399p.  ISBN: 978-0-545-058667 hb. $17.99     Gr. 7-12   Y.A

          Spunky field girl Gatty makes people wonder what they should do about her.  She is alone in the world except for her cow.  Hapeless Gatty has been out of sorts ever since her beloved friend Arthur left for the Crusades.  Sir Walter, Arthur's father then learns that a Welsh widow, Lady Gwyneth de Ewloe, is looking for a chamber servant to accompany her and a small group of pilgrims to Jerusalem.  At first the arrangement is questionable.  The other Pilgrims think Lady Gwyneth has made a costly mistake by asking Getty to accompany them from England through Europe and on to Jerusalem.  Gatty is unpolished and ill mannered, filthy, and dresses in clothes of sack cloth.  Even after a bath and a new dress, Gatty continues to be impulsive, reckless, and entirely too bold to be a suitable young woman.  But Gatty has the voice of an Angel, and gradually wins most members of the party over with her voice and kind spirit.  When tragedy hits, it is Gatty who leads the group to the fulfillment of its pilgrimage.  By the time she returns home, Gatty has grown in character.  Her prospects for the future are bright and she is no longer alone.   It takes a few chapters to get into the book, then readers are rewarded with a great story.          
          Phyllis King, Librarian,  North Central Area Schools 

Hopkins, Ellen.  TRICKS.  New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books, .2009.
      625p.  ISBN: 978-1416950073 hb. $18.99   Gr. 9+    Y.A. FIC

      Five teenagers, Eden, Seth, Whitney, Ginger, and Cody - all searching for love. Love from their families, love from their friends, falling in love, and love for themselves. This is their story, told in poetry form.  When I first opened this book I wondered how I was going to get through it, 625 pages of poetry, sigh. The first 80 some pages introduced each character, not too bad, so I kept going. By the time I through the next 80 pages, with a group of poems for each character, I was hooked.  I wanted to know what happened next to each person.  What happens next is life and choices, some of their choices and some of the choices made for them are not good. They end up in situations that we all hope our children never have to deal with, ever. The title of the book does not mean the kind of tricks you play at Halloween.
      Bronwen K. Stair, Gerrish-Higgins School District Public Library, Roscommon, MI

John, Antony. FIVE FLAVORS OF DUMB. New York: Dial, 2010. 352p.
          ISBN: 9780803734333 hb. $16.99      Gr. 9-12   Y.A. 

          I picked up this book from a sea of teen fiction that was mostly either paranormal/paranormal romance or catty clique novels. It 
stood out as different, with a lot of potential to restore my faith in YA lit. Well, it's no savior of the genre, but it's certainly entertaining and 
a real page-turner. I couldn't be in the same room as the book if I wanted to do something besides pick it up and continue reading.
          Piper is witness to a hot new band's impromptu performance on her high school's front steps, and later has the guts to tell them 
they're crap. The three-person band decides to challenge her in return - become their manager and get them a paying gig within a month. 
She accepts this potentially impossible task. It's not just hard because they're a new band that needs improvement - it's hard because 
Piper is deaf.  This book is an intriguing compilation of hard rock history, the story of a band, teen romance and friendships in many forms,
family dynamics, and a tale of coping with what many would consider a disability. Piper is an excellent, strong protagonist who brings 
together an eclectic band of five very different flavors of people (hence the title) while dealing with a family that doesn't always support
her - her parents dip into her college savings, earmarked for a university for the hearing impaired, to buy her deaf little sister a cochlear
 implant.If you're looking for an antidote for the common teen novel, this is it.
          Jessica Holman, Librarian, North Star Academy, Marquette, MI

Johnson, Angela.  THE FIRST PART LAST.  New York:  Simon & Schuster Books for
        Young Readers, 2003.  131p.  0-689-84922-2-hb.  $15.95    Gr. 7-12    YA FIC

        Bobby steps into a new world when his daughter, Feather, is born.  What can he and his girlfriend expect from their parents and friends while taking on the challenge of parenthood?  Relationships and circumstances dominate this story of teenage love.  The author shifts between "then" and "now" to narrate the past through the present.  Angela Johnson deserves the Corretta Scott King Award for this gripping story of teenage love.  It is highly recommended for junior and senior high students.
        Lynette Suckow, Youth Services, Peter White Public Library, Marquette, MI

Johnson, Angela.  SWEET, HEREAFTER. (the final book in the Heaven Trilogy) New York: 
      Simon & Schuster,.2010.  118p. ISBN: 978-0689873850 hb. $16.99    Gr. 9+    Y.A. FICt

      After reading the blurb in the front and the first few pages of this little book I did not want to continue.  Not because it was 
badly written, but because I knew it was a sad story.  I was right I had tears waiting to fall by the end of the book. I know 
people, teens, like the ones in this book.  I know boys and girls who don't want to go back to war, girls and boys who feel lost 
at home.  Who are isolated and dealing with life because the words are not there to explain their feelings.  Powerful even 
without reading the first two books.
      Bronwen K. Stair, Gerrish-Higgins School District Public Library, Roscommon, MI

Johnson, Christine.  CLAIRE de LUNE.  New York: Simon Pulse, 2010.  336p.
      ISBN: 978-1-4169-9182-3 hb.  $16.99.    Gr. 8-12    Y.A.

      On her sixteenth birthday Claire discovers that she is descended from a long line of werewolves, and she will soon be initiated into the pack.  Claire feels her world, as she has known it to be, slowly slipping away, affecting her school relationships and endangering the people in her town. The story puts a new twist on werewolf mytholugy and pulls teen readers into this modern fantasy.
  
   Phyllis King,  North Central Area Schools, Librarian

Krovatin, Christopher.  VENOMOUS.  Illus. by Kelly Yates.  New York: Simon and Schuster 2008.  323p.  
          
ISBN: 9781416924876 hb. $16.99.    Gr. 8-12.     YA FIC

          This book is about a young man names Locke, who had been picked on and misunderstood for as long as he could remember.  When he was picked on as a kid, he wouldn’t say anything; he would just sit there and take it. One day another boy kept throwng a ball at Locke’s head, when he finally snapped and beat the boy up.  The resulting  anger he felt soon came to be called “the venom.”  Whenever he got angry he would have a venom moment, but as he grew older, he began to control it better. Locke eventually develops a circle of friends consisting of Randall who is a calming influence in Locke’s life, a goth girl named Renee whom he falls in love with, and Casey who also has anger problems like him. They all go through major problems but overcome them. This book is very good reading for young adults.
          Rachelle Mason, Library Aide

 

Kyle, Aryn.  THE GOD OF ANIMALS. New York: Scribner, 2007.
        ISBN 1416533249 hb. $25.00.   Gr. 9-12    YA

        By the time we meet Alice Winston, she has already lost her older sister to a rodeo cowboy and one of her eleven-year-old classmates to death by drowning.  She will find this year to be the turning point in her life, as she makes the transition from a sheltered childhood on a horse ranch to a preteen awareness of her rural Colorado community.  Alice's nuclear family operates without her mother, who took to bed when Alice was still a baby.  Her father runs the horse ranch and views the whole world in relation to horses.  During the hottest summer in years, Alice and her father find themselves boarding horses and providing riding lessons for wealthy clients in order to make ends meet.  As they become involved in the lives of their clients, Alice seeks out a questionable relationship with a teacher, resists overtures of friendship from classmates, tries to reinvent herself by lying to new acquaintances, and learns some hard truths about the adults in her life. 
         Horse lovers will appreciate that the story is set on a working ranch and uses equine vocabulary.  The world of riding competitions and horse breeding, familiar to some, is an education for others.  The issue of class division based on wealth, is illustrated by the author's use of drought and rain which heavily impacts farmer and ranchers, but has little effect on the everyday life of white collar families from the suburbs.  Class division is juxtaposed with class inclusion, based on family lines within the ranching community.  Kyle explores how family relationships are impacted by their passions, social status and financial security.  This is Aryn Kyle's first novel, well worth reading.
         Lynette Suckow, Youth Services, Peter White Public Library, Marquette, MI

Levin, Betty.  THORN.  Asheville, NC: Front Street, 2005. 176 p. ISBN 1-932425-46-2 hb., $16.95.   
         
Gr 6-10    YA FIC

          Set in an undefined period of time before the development of metal tools or farming, the novel THORN explores the relationship between an outsider and a society struggling to survive, as well as understand it’s own history.  In the process, author Betty Levin, examines how both individuals and societies define themselves and their relationships.  The strength of this story lies in the fine use of detail and the careful use of language.  There are many beautiful small  moments in this story that takes place on an undefined island, someplace in the world that experiences a change in seasons.  However, the largeness of the themes and the nature of fantasy writing had me wanting more than what I got.  Just as the setting is undefined, I kept wanting to know more about it.  I wanted the characters to grow and learn more.  I wanted to have them experience more, talk more, see and do more than they did in 176 pages.  Most of the novel is told from the point of view of Willow, a member of the society that outsider, Thorn, is left with in the first part of the story.  She is to succeed the group’s keeper of tales.  But the book fails to tell the tales or even the fragments of tales that she is to keep.            
          Ellen Moore, Library Assistant, Peter White Public Library, Marquette, MI

Lo, Malinda. ASH. Little, New York:  Brown & Co., 2009.  264p.
            ISBN 978-0-316-14009-9 hb.$16.99  Gr. 8-12  YA.

          The main story integrates a traditional fairyland with the story of Cinderella, taking oral folk traditions and merging them with the satisfying archetype of the fairy tale.  The teenage protagonist Ash begins as the idealistic stepdaughter of a cruel stepmother.  Weaned on fairy tales both from her mother’s stories—a woman rumored to be a hedgewitch—and the stories she grew up reading,  Ash soon finds herself engaged to a mysterious lord of Faery cursed by her mother to fall in love with a human.  Against this backdrop, Ash must deal with her own blossoming and misunderstood emotions for her friend, the royal huntress, as the inevitable climax of the Cinderella story comes to fruition. 
           
Lo’s writing is engaging as she describes the attraction and solace of the deep forest and folk traditions with a comfortable degree of verisimilitude of a native mystic.  Lo’s variations on the well-known Cinderella tale are satisfying and refreshing.  She attends closely to the story’s well-known events to draw readers into an easy identification, while also jarring expectations of the famous fable as she crafts the ending into a fortuitous surprise.

           
Karl McKimpson, Instructor, University of North Carolina, Wilmington

Meyer, Carolyn.  THE TRUE ADVENTURES OF CHARLEY DARWIN.  Boston, MA:
         Harcourt, 2009.  321p.  ISBN: 9780152061944  $17.00.  Gr. 8-12    Y.A.

         The True Adventures of Charley Darwin is the fictionalized account of the early years of naturalist Charles Darwin, 
covering his childhood in Shropshire, England up through his marriage at age 29. Told in the first person, the early years of 
Charley’s life are described in detail that makes the era come alive, although the author’s choice to tell the story as Charley 
might have written in the nineteenth century, complete with  the English spellings, may make reading more difficult for young 
adult readers.  The time Darwin spent on the HMS Beagle seemed to drag on and I found myself losing interest; however, 
it is sure to appeal to those who enjoy historical fiction as well as stories of discovery and sea voyages. The book is an 
excellent introduction to Darwin’s personal history as a means to understanding the man that he became and does not focus 
on evolution.
          Heather Crozier, Public Libarian, Munising School Public Library
 Michaels, Rune. NOBEL GENES. New York: Atheneum Books For Young Readers,
      2010.  181p. ISBN: 978-1-4169-1259-0 hb. $16.99.   Gr. 7-12    Y. A.    

      An unnamed middle school-aged boy is constantly trying to live up to the Nobel genes he supposedly received from his donor father.
It becomes apparent that his young mother has suicidal tendencies and he is left to care for both of them. The fifth time she is taken away 
on a stretcher, life changes for him. His mother’s parents (thought dead by him) take him in. The story takes a fantastical turn and he is able 
to learn of the horrible events that led to his creation and his mother’s flight from her father.  Ultimately he decides that he is in control of his
 own destiny, regardless of his genetic makeup. Through dreams, this book offers the satisfaction of the good triumphing and the evil suffering 
that would not be possible in a more true-to-life telling of the story. Warning: Contains rape by a family member, though it is implied rather 
than described. Therefore, this book is recommended for readers age 12 and up.
      Jesse Norton, Assistant Librarian, Ishpeming Carnegie Public Library, Ishpeming, MI

Moriarty, Jaclyn.  THE GHOSTS OF ASHBURY HIGH.  New York: Arthur A. Levine Books,
               2010.  496p. ISBN: 978-0545069724 hb.  $18.99.    Grades 8-12   YA

               Through a clever use of format and the points of view of  multiple characters, Moriarty creates a ghost story unlike any other told 
before. The "ghost story" part of this novel is less the main plot as it is the vehicle the author uses to introduce the reader to a variety of young 
teen characters who are wrestling with the last years of high school and about embark on their journey into adult life. At times the narrative is 
slow moving, however for readers who appreciate well developed characters with intricately woven narratives, Moriarty does not dissapoint.
               Kelly Wood, Library Clerk, Ishpeming Carnegie Public Library, Ishpeming, MI


Morris, Paula. DARK SOULS. New York: Scholastic, 2011.  292p. ISBN: 978-0-545-25132-7
            hb. $17.99   Gr.98-12    Y.A.

            Sixteen year old Miranda Tennant arrives in York England, with her parents and brother, trying to recover from the terriable accident that killed her best friend and while in the haunted city she falls in love for the first time as two boys, one also suffering from a great loss and the other a ghost, fight for her attention.  Great story.
            Phyllis King, North Central Area Schools, Librarian

Murray, Martine.  HOW TO MAKE A BIRD.  New York: Arthur Levine Books, 2010.
      233 Pages. ISBN 978-0439-66951-1hb. $17.99.    Gr. 8-12    YA

      Seventeen year old Mannie leaves home on a bicycle, wearing her absent mother's long red party dress. She is on a quest 
to find the answers to the mystery that surrounds her unstable mother  and to find the answers to the questions she has about 
the night her brother Eddie was killed.  There's a budding romance with Harry, a neighbor and a friend of Eddie's and her 
relationship to her steadfast father. Mannie finds the answers, learns about the complexity of human relationships and comes 
of age in this story set in Australia.
        Barb Ward, Children's Librarian, Retired, Dickinson County Library

Myers, Anna.  TIME OF THE WITCHES.  New York: Walker and Company, 2009.
     194p.  ISBN: 0-8027-9820-6 hb. $16.99.     Gr. 8-12  Y.A.
 
     This book is about the Salem Witch Trials and holds a good lesson in regard to manipulation and cruelity towards teen friends.  Drucilla and Gabe, born on the same day at the same time, were always together until they were twelve years old. They went to live with two separate families and were finally adopted, believing this to be a dream come true.  When a new preacher family moved to town, life took a turn for the worse.  People started falling ill and blamed it all on witchcraft.   This story ended up with mistress Putnum accusing many innocent people of witchcraft, just because she did not approve of them or because she disliked them.  Her daughter and Drucilla were forced to act like they were being cursed or witched. Drucilla ended up stopping  the witch trials, but it came at a price.
     Phyllis King, Librarian/ Rachelle Mason,Library Helper, North Central Area Schools

Myers, Anna.  WHEN THE BOUGH BREAKS.   New York, Walker, 2000. 170p.
          0-8027-8725-8; hb.,  $18.95   Gr. 7-10    FIC

          A very beautiful, touching story about two reclusive individuals – young Ophelia who has just moved into a new foster family, and Portia McKay, an elderly neighbor who needs someone to read to her.  Both share an interest initially in a love of literature, especially Shakespeare but gradually they learn they have more in common, a horrible secret that has left each emotionally alone.  The story is artfully crafted with each somewhat reluctant to share feelings with the other.  As the characters develop, the dark secret in each one’s life slowly is revealed and evolves into a dramatic ending.  A truly impressive, moving story which teens will enjoy.
          Barbara Berry; retired school library-media specialist
    
Myracle, Lauren.  RHYMES WITH WITCHES.  New York: Amulet Books, 2005.               
         
209p. ISBN 0-8109-5859-7; hb., $16.95    Gr. 9+    YA FIC

          In a blurb on the back cover of RHYMES WITH WITCHES, another author compares this book with the movie, MEAN GIRLS.  Both stories have to do with the problems of fitting in with ones peers while in high school.  However, MEAN GIRLS explores these problems and possible solutions with humor and understanding, while this book goes off on tangential fantasies that simply avoid the problems it presents.  There might be teens who would like this book– it is escapist and is full of popular culture allusions.  However, the same trendy feeling that might be fun this year will probably sound very dated in two years.  I don’t think it’s a book anyone is likely to think about much after reading it.

         
Ellen Moore, Peter White Public Library, Marquette, MI

Namioka, Lensey.  APRIL AND THE DRAGON LADY.  New York: Harcourt, Inc. 2007.  
          214p.  ISBN 978-0-15-205669-8 pbk. $6.95  Gr. 7-12   YA

          APRIL AND THE DRAGON LADY is an ambitious story about breaking racial boundaries, maturing from the awkward stage of puberty to the adult you are meant to be, and letting go.  April will take you deep into her everyday life, shattering our stereotypes of Chinese Americans everywhere.  As April tries to identify with American culture, which includes a Caucasian boyfriend, her family has trouble accepting American values.  Her grandmother still carries the strongest Chinese traditions and is horrified at April’s attempts to fit in with her American friends.  The story will bring you through a range of emotions from frustration and anger to mushy, heart-warming moments.  It’s a must-read for teens and adults alike. 
         
Brianna Johnson,  Student, Escanaba High School, Escanaba, MI

Olson, Gretchen.  JOYRIDE.  Boyds Mills, 1998.  200p.  1-56397-687-0; hb.,  $14.95
         1-56397-758-3; pb., $8.95      97-76746   Gr. 7-12     FIC

         "Shall we settle this ourselves or shall I call the police?"  asks Oregon farmer Jake Hampton.  Seventeen-year-old Jeff McKenzie, celebrating with a friend, circled his 4 x 4 Bronco in an open field where darkness hid the irrigation pump.  Damage was extensive.  Mr. Hampton requests Jeff work on the Hampton farm to pay off the damage.  Rising at dawn and working until dusk, Jeff learns the hardships of farm life.  Exhausted, he's unable to practice for his country club tennis tournaments.  In his family, friends, and community, Jeff sees the stereotypes and prejudice towards seasonal pickers; meanwhile a strong friendship develops with Macario, the Hampton's long-term Hispanic foreman.  Additionally, Jeff gains the respect of 16-year-old Alex Hampton, whose field he damaged in his joyride.
        Sprinkled with basic Spanish words, this author's first novel captures the peer pressure, stereotypes, and different values of teens; clearly showing Jeff's maturation.  Olson based the novel on the real experience of a boy who worked with seasonal pickers on her Oregon berry farm which gives credibility to the events.  Recommended for grades 7-12.
        Donna Keskimaki; English teacher, Westwood High School, Ishpeming, MI

Page, Jan.  REWIND.  New York:  Walker & Company, 2005.  220p.
        ISBN: 0-8027-8995-1  hb. $16.95   Gr. 8-10  YA FIC

        "There must be some unfinished business, some question that needs answering. Isn't that what being a ghost is all about?"  As the main character of this story finds out, there is a lot to learn about being a ghost and time travel, but more importantly there is a lot to learn about relationships with family and friends.  Liam is a 16 year old boy who decides on a whim to form a band with his "lads", CJ and Daz.  But when he goes to Weird Welly's junk shop in search of a drum set, the formation of a band takes a decidedly other-worldly spin.  A freak accident sends Liam on a journey that teaches him and others that life is precious.  This well-written story takes many twists and turns that keep the reader interested.  Page is a British author and uses many slang terms that will be unfamiliar to readers. A short glossary in the back of the book helps sort this out.  It was originally published in Great Britain in 2004 under the title DRUMMER
        Mary Cary Crawford, Escanaba Public Library Director, retired

Peck, Dale.  SPROUT.  New York: Bloomsbury U.S.A. Children’s Books, 2009.  277p.  
          ISBN-13:978-1-59990-160-2  hb. $16.99      Gr. 9-12      Y.A.

         Peck infuses humor in this contemporary tale of Daniel Bradford, who lands in a conservative Kansas community after 
his mother dies and his father loads him up in the car, driving west from New York city until they find someplace new to 
settle down.  As the new kid in town, Daniel finds himself an outsider and decides to turns his hair green, earning the nickname,
Sprout, and becoming a more distinct target of ridicule.  The wierdest girl in the class becomes his buddy and the most athletic 
boy in class becomes the object of his affections.  His English teacher, however, sees real potential in his writing skills and 
coaches him for scholarship competitions, as well as advising him about how to keep his sexual activities under the radar in a 
small town.  The ebb and flow of relationships between the teen characters and their parents will keep readers interested from 
beginning to end.
         Lynette Suckow, Peter White Public Library, Marquette, MI
Rallison, Janette.  MY UNFAIR GODMOTHER.  New York: Walker and Company, 2011.
               339p.  ISBN: 978-0-8027-2236-2 hb. $16.99  Gr. 8-12   Y.A.

               Tansy always felt that her father didn’t pay enough attention to her. She always seemed to get his attention in the wrong ways. 
Luckily, Tansy has a fairy godmother, who isn’t quite what she should be, and makes a tangle of Tansy’s three wishe.   Suddenly, she’s 
in the middle ages with Robin Hood, and then with the  Rumpelstiltskin story which needs to be recreated as a fairy tale.   She has plenty 
of help, including a cute police chief's son, to keep it from spinning wildly out of control.  This is very funny and special romantic comedy 
with a fairy tale ending.   I loved this book.
               Phyllis King, North Central Area Schools Jr. and Sr. High Librarian

Randle, Kristen D.  SLUMMING.  New York:  Harper Collins Children's Books,
        2003.  232p.  ISBN: 0-06--001022-3  hb. $15.99.  Grades 9-12   YA FIC

        High school senior, Nikki, persuades her long-time friends, Alicia and Sam, to join her in a "rescue" project.  Each will choose another classmate they believe can be improved upon, socially, physically and spiritually; a Pygmalion thing-without revealing to them the real purpose of striking up a friendship. After a few weeks' effort, they will take that person to the prom and the next day get together to assess results; i.e., to pick a winner.  Impulsive Nikki chooses a science nerd, Sam chooses an aloof  "Gothic" girl; and Alicia, the romantic one whose world is described poetically, chooses strong, silent loner Morgan.
        Randle uses the three main characters' names as section or paragraph headings. Sam's thoughts and actions are in a different font than that of the two girls.  This impedes story flow, as the reader switches back and forth.  SLUMMING is about relationships that grow increasingly complex and even dark among close friends, between newly made friends, and within families.  Slumming can exist within the most respectable-appearing neighborhoods, and the danger of judging, based upon a façade, is the meat of this book.
        Judy Bennett, Ironwood Carnegie Library, Ironwood, MI

Ranulfo.  NIRVANA'S CHILDREN.  New York:  Joanna Colter Books, 2003.
        217 p.  ISBN: 0060541563  hb. $16.89.  Gr. 9+   YA Fic.

        This book is about a fifteen year old boy, Napolean, who runs away from an abusive family situation to live on the street.  Abuse is a harsh and cruel subject and the author presents Napolean's life in the same way.  The character feels that all adults are useless, cruel, stupid, etc.  His journey to the streets finds Napolean in an equally abusive situation; or it could be until he mets Sammie, herself a runaway.  Through her, Napolean finds a better life at the end of the story.  The author is Australian and Aussie jargon is used in this story.  Off-color language, teenage sexuality and drug use are part of this story. 
        Denise Engel, Librarian, Wakefield Public Library, Wakefield, MI

Schmidt, Gary. Okay for Now. New York: Clarion Books, 2011.  368p.
           
ISBN
978-0547152608 hb. $16.99   Gr. 6-9   JUV FIC

             We continue the story of Doug Sweiteck from the companion book, “The Wednesday Wars,” that takes place during the 1967–68 school year.  Just one year later, Doug finds himself in a new town where his dad has found a new job. In the words of the author, “He has no friends yet, his family is exploding, and his oldest brother is fighting in Viet Nam.”  Doug is befriended by a reference librarian who encourages his fascination with the James John Audubon’s Birds of America. However, the book is missing several picture plates which are being sold off each time the city budget dips into the red.  Doug makes it his personal mission to recover the plates and restore Audubon’s book to wholeness, mirroring his own wish to be whole.  As serious as the themes may be, Schmidt is a masterful writer, sprinkling plenty of humorous incidents and gut-busters throughout the story.
              
Lynette Suckow, Peter White Public Library, Marquette, MI

Schmidt, Gary.  TROUBLE.  New York: Clarion Books, 2008. 304p.
         
ISBN 978-0618927661 hb. $16.00    Gr. 7-12   YA

          TROUBLE begins with a quote from Henry Smith’s father, “If you build your house far enough away from Trouble, then Trouble will never find you.”  However, it finds the Smith family when Henry’s older brother Franklin is hit by a truck while jogging on the side of the road.  The truck driver is Chay Chouan, fellow high school student and son of Cambodian immigrants from the next town over. The incident increases tensions between the cultures of old New England families and Asian refugees establishing local businesses to provide a better life for their children.  When Henry tries to relax by taking his kayak out into open water, he ends up rescuing a black dog swimming to shore in choppy water – more trouble.  The stories of Henry and Chay, told from their own viewpoints, eventually mesh together to reveal what really happened the day of the accident that brought trouble to Henry’s small world.
         
Lynette Suckow, Youth Services, Peter White Public Library, Marquette, MI

Schwartz, Virginia.  SEND ONE ANGEL DOWN.  Markham, Ontario, Canada:  Fitzhenry
   
       & Whiteside, 2005.  161p.  ISBN 1-55005-140-7 pbk. $9.95      Gr. 6-12     YA

          Young Abram, born a slave, learns to survive in captivity on an Alabama cotton plantation before the Civil War.  He is lucky to live and work in the nursery with Granny and his cousin Eliza for the first ten years of his life.  Then he's sent to the cotton fields with all ages of plantation workers where only the soulful songs of the workers get him through the day.  His story and relationships give readers a glimpse of daily life as a slave and the social structure of the plantation, as well as the segregated southern states.
          This story makes us thankful for the relative freedom and comfort we live with today.  Abram’s story can be heart-wrenching at times, such as the practice of removing babies from their mothers and selling them at auction.  However, the characters live with the hope of a better world.  If they could time-travel to the 21st century, I think they would be pleased to find some changes.  Schwartz's book, well written and very interesting, would make a worthy addition to any public or school library.
            Lynette Suckow, Youth Services, Peter White Public Library, Marquette, MI

Soto, Gary.  ACCIDENTAL LOVE.  Orlando: Harcourt, 2006. 179p. ISBN 0-15-205497-9 hb. $16.00
             Gr. 7-10    YA

           Gary Soto’s newest YA novel follows a predictable story formula with no apologies; and no apologies are required.  ACCIDENTAL LOVE is a tried and true tale of the attraction of a pair of opposites who overcome societal and personal obstacles as they fall in love.  Because Soto's characters are both fresh and interesting, they are able to transcend the cookie cutter plot and make this book both enjoyable and meaningful.  The main character, tough-girl Marissa, finds herself falling for a nerdy, chess-playing, white-sock-wearing boy from another school, a better school than her own.  Meanwhile, she sees that her evolving relationship is sturdier and more rewarding than those of her friends who fall for the popular boys.  The couple face both typical and not so predictable obstacles.  Much of the fun in this book comes from the interesting solutions proposed and its contemporary setting.
            Ellen Moore, Library Assistant, Peter White Public Library, Marquette, MI

Stephenson, Lynda.  DANCING WITH ELVIS.  Grand Rapids, MI:  Eerdmans Books for 
           Young Readers, 2005.  ISBN:  0-8028-5293-9,  hb. $17.00   Gr.98-12   YA

            DANCING WITH ELVIS, set in 1950’s Western Texas, is an entertaining story about making the best of less than ideal circumstances.  The narrator is a smart, funny and headstrong high school student who learns to choose her battles when confronting her personal weaknesses and her community’s racial and class prejudices.
           Ellen Moore, Library Assistant, Peter White Public Library, Marquette, MI

Stewart, Sean and Jordan Weisman.  CATHY'S RING.  Illus. by Cathy Briggs. Philadelphia, PA:  
         Running Press Book Publishers, 2009. 149p. ISBN: 978-0-7624-3530-2 hb. $17.95.   Gr. 9-12  YA

         What's not to like about this story? There's romance, mystery and teen angst packed into 149 pages. The books moves 
along at a speed which engages the reader. There will surely be readers who down this offering in one gulp. It's a plus that 
readers won't be lost if they haven't read the preceding volume, Cathy's Book. There's enough here for the book to stand alone. 
          Barb Ward, Children's Librarian, Retired, Dickinson County Library

Stiefvater Maggie.  THE RAVEN BOYS.   New York:  Scholastic Press, 2012.   409p.
     ISBN 978-0-545-42492-9 hc., $18.99    Gr. 8 & up    YA

       Blue is the only member of her all female household without psychic powers. Having long lived with the warning that she will cause her true love to die, she is conflicted when she meets and is drawn to Adam and Gansey, boys from Aglionby, a private school for the sons of wealthy families. Despite a rocky introduction to four of the Aglionby boys, she becomes one of the group with Adam, a shy scholarship student; shadowy, quiet Noah; the bitter, acerbic Ronan and Gansey who is the leader of the group, with an unstoppable and dangerous goal which will take them into danger and a supernatural world. This compelling first entry into the Raven Boys series is a compelling page turner. The characters are complex, the supernatural elements fascinating, making this a ‘gobble-up’ feast for teens.
      Barbara Ward, Dickinson County Library, Children’s Librarian, Retired

Stork, Francisco X.  THE LAST SUMMER OF THE DEATH WARRIORS. New York: Arthur A. Levine Books,  
      2010.  344p.  ISBN: 978-0-545-15133-7 hb. $17.99    Gr. 8-12    Y.A.

      This is the story of Pancho, a young man who is orphaned in his teens, and loses his older sister shortly after.  
The circumstances of his sister's death are suspicious, making him determined to seek revenge for her death.  
Shortly after arriving at the orphanage, where he must now live, he meets DQ, a boy his age who is dying of cancer.  
Pancho is given the "job" of being DQ's caretaker for the summer.  The relationship formed between DQ and Pancho 
changes both boys forever. As DG writes “The Death Warrior’s Manifesto,” a guide to living out his last days fully, 
Pancho finds himself becoming less angry as days go by, and his plans for revenge begin to change also.  
      Melissa Coyne,  Patron, Munising School Public Library

Taylor, Brooke.  UNDONE.  New York: Walker and Company, 2008.  308p.
           ISBN: 0-8027-9763-6 hb. $16.99    Gr. 9-12    YA FIC

           UNDONE draws readers into the story immediately.  It is the story or Serena, a 15 year-old girl with extreme problems, and her best friend Kori, who is Serens's role model and has even worse problems than Serena.  Although the girls are fifteen, I would not recommend this book to the younger teenage group.  These girls are all into the very things most parents would not want their kids into, such as smoking, drugs, alcohol, swearing, and sex.  There is really no graphic sex.  It is a part of the make up of how messed up the kids are and some of the obstacles they must overcome. The girls will figure out why they made the choices they have made in their life.  They sometimes blame Serena's father for abandoning her and her rlationship with a mother who is having an affair with a married man.  My biggest complaint is that the books ends with things wrapped up neatly.  Serena should have vented about her anger.  Ithink her parents should have been made responsible for all the trouble they caused her. My other complaint is too many light bulb moments Serena has that changes her view of the world.
           Phyllis King, Librarian, North Central Area Schools

Taylor, Laini.  LIPS TOUCH. THREE TIMES.  Illus. by Jim Di Bartolo. New York:
      Arthur A. Levine, 2009.  265p. $17.99     Gr. 9-12    Y.A.

      This collection of three stories is a perfect blend of the macabre and dangerous love. "Goblin Fruit"  features a ghoul who 
shape-shifts into a handsome boy, one who is irresistible to a gypsy-like Kizzy. "Spicy Little Curses Such as These" is a 
reworking of Morpheus: the beautiful Estella is cursed at birth and must eventually go down into the fires of hell to rescue her 
soldier, who is convinced the curse is an old wive's tale.  Hatchling" takes place in a complex cosmology full of vampire wolves, 
shape-shifters and demons. The cover art of a ruby-lipped, blue-eyed girl engulfed in flames (of love or hell?) will be sure to 
grab teens. The red,  black and gray artwork illustrating each story gives it a timeless, fairytale quality.
      Mary Olmsted, Librarian, Tahquamenon Area School Public Library, Newberry, MI
Vivian, Siobhan.  SAME DIFFERENCE.  New York: PUSH, 2009.  287p.  ISBN: 978-0-545-00407-7  hb. $17.99.   
          Gr. 9-12   Y.A.

          "Feeling left out since her long-time best friend started a serious relationship, sixteen-year-old Emily looks forward to 
a summer program at the Philadelphia College of Art, but is not sure she is up to the challenges to be faced there, including 
finding herself and learning to balance life and art."  This excerpt from the book summary does not adequately describe the 
story.  Emily is facing a serious identity crisis.  She loves art, but doesn't think she is very good at it.  However, she is actually 
an excellent artist.  During the summer, Emily finds a new friend in art school and begins to mirror herself after her new friend.  
It takes many turbulent events and problems/solutions for Emily to find herself as an individual..  The topic is of interest to 
teens.  There are instances of under-age drinking, discussion of teen sex, and some mildly inappropriate language which 
definitely puts this book  in the Young Adult category.
           Melissa Coyne, Substitute Teacher/Patron, Tahquamenon Area Library

Treggiari, Jo.  ASHES, ASHES.  New York: Scholastic Press, 2011. 344p.
         
ISBN: 978-0-545-25563-9 hb. $17.99.    Y.A. Science Fiction

          Sixteen-year-old Lucy Holloway is surviving alone in the wilderness of post-apocalyptic Manhattan after a plague killed her family and most of the population. But the Sweepers are looking for survivors and are quickly closing in on Lucy. Luckily, she is saved by a boy named Aidan. Eventually Lucy finds herself living in a make-shift commune with bigger problems than just outrunning tsunamis. Jo Terggiari weaves a story that is part science-fiction dystopian, part adventure, and part romance that can appeal to many young readers.                       Ariana Anthony, Student, Munising Public Library

Warman, Jessica. WHERE THE TRUTH LIES. New York: Walker Publishing Co., 2010.  308p. 
      ISBN 978-0-8027-2078-8; Hardcover.  $16.99.  Gr. 7-12   YA

      Emily, 17, suffers from suffocating nightmares of fire and water.  Outwardly there is no reason for Emily, who attends 
the private school for privileged kids in Connecticut to be haunted by nightmares. Her father is the headmaster at the school 
and she has a close relationship with her parents who live on campus. When a new boy, Del, is enrolled in the school, Emily 
and Del are drawn to each other. As secrets are revealed and Emily faces terrifying choices, her life unravels.  The problems 
of drugs, pregnancy and neglectful parents are handled with insight and sensitivity.  This well written book will resonate with teens.
          Barb Ward, Children's Librarian, Retired, Dickinson County Library
Weyn, Suzanne.  EMPTY.  New York: Scholastic Press, 2010.  183p.
      ISBN: HC 978-0-545-17278-3 hb. $17.99.  Gr. 8-12  Y.A.

     EMPTY is a book about the future.  The fossil fuels are running out. No Gas. No Oil.  This means no driving.  Oil is $500.00 
or more a barrel.  It just keeps rising.  Nobody expected the world to end so fast.  In the small town of Sage Valley, decisions 
that once seemed easy are quickly becoming a matter of life and death.  Sacrifices need to be made; and we humans must make 
some drastic changes. Some of the town residents may find what they need to survive, but their lives will never be the same.  
This was an interesting novel;  perfect for the times we are now living in.  Good reading for the futuristic science fiction fan.
      Phyllis  King, Librarian,  North Central Area Schools
 Williams, Suzanne Morgan.  BULL RIDER.  New York: McElderberry Books.
      2009.  241p.  ISBN: 9781416961307 hb. $16.99   Gr. 7-11   Y.A. FIC

BULL RIDER is the story of Cam Oâ?TMara, a 14 year old boy with a passion for skateboarding.  Camâ’s older brother, Ben, 
a former champion bull rider, is injured in Iraq and comes home with Traumatic Brain Injury, along with other severe injuries .
In an attempt to cheer up Ben, Cam rides his first bull and discovers that he loves it.  Mrs. O’Mara forbids him to ride, fearing 
that he will be injured, but when Ben loses hope, Cam bets him that he can ride a never before ridden bull named Ugly. If Cam 
wins, Ben will be forced to acknowledge that anything is possible. While predictable, the story is touching and will appeal to teens. 
The Nevada setting is lovingly described in detail. The descriptions of bull riding and skateboarding will keep many teen boys 
engaged.  The story and themes of determination and strong family relationships will appeal to either gender.  The book provides 
great insight into the struggles of those with Traumatic Brain Injury as well as post-traumatic stress. 
     Heather Crozier, Public Libarian, Munising School Public Library, Munising, MI
Wrede, Patricia and Stevermer, Caroline.  THE GRAND TOUR.  San Diego, CA: Hacourt, Inc., 2004.  
          469p.  1-15-204616-X  $17.00 hb.   Gr. 9-12   YA

         Cecy and Kate continue their adventures as as newly married women, Mrs. Tarleton and Lady Schofield, 
as they honeymoon through mainland Europe.  They naturally find intrigue and mystery around every corner.  
The story picks up where Cecy and Kate leave off in THE ENCHANTED CHOCOLATE POT.  Their amateur 
attempts at sorcery improve as time goes on and make for interesting reading.  There are a lot of characters to keep 
track of, but the end result is always fun.
          Lynette Suckow, Peter White Public Library, Marquette, MI

Wolff, Virginia Euwer.  TRUE BELIEVER.  Make Lemonade Trilogy series.  New York:
          Atheneum, 2001.  264p.  0-689-82827-6; hb, $17.00   00-032792  Gr. 7+  FIC

          Readers who thought MAKE LEMONADE (Holt, 1993) was a powerful book, need to read more about LaVaughn.  The second book of the trilogy begins when LaVaughn is fifteen.  Her lifetime friends Myrtle and Annie draw away from her when they join a club at church that fosters celibacy and separateness from unsuitable companions.  LaVaughn gets a job in a hospital and is switched into a college prep course where she meets Patrick, her new lab partner in biology class.  She is also taking a special grammar class.  Her mother has a boyfriend and her childhood friend, Jody, returns in a new grown-up gorgeous body, which makes her decision to remain celibate more than an academic question.  As it turns out, it is an academic question because Jody is gay.  Jolly and her two fatherless children also appear in this book and come to LaVaughn's 16th birthday party at the end of the book.  Much happens during the year to LaVaugh in her  violent school, poverty-ridden apartment in the midst of many single parent families.  Written in a stream of consciousness style, this book portrays inner city life with stark reality.  Readers will eagerly await the final book in the series to see if Jolly’s good luck continues, if Jody gets his swimming scholarship, and if LaVaughn ever gets to college.
        Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI
       *Editor’s Note:  2002 Prinz Honor Book
 
Zarr, Sara.  SWEETHEARTS.  New York: Little Brown and Company, 2008.
          217p. ISBN: 0-316-01455-9 hb. $16.99.    Gr. 9-12    Y.A.

          As a child, Jennifer was an overweight social outcast with one friend, Cameron who came from an abusive home and didn’t really fit in.  When Cameron moved away, Jennifer was led to believe he was dead.  After mourning his loss, Jennifer decided to reinvent herself, becoming Jenna, one of the most popular girls in school.
          Then, during her senior year, her presumed-dead friend comes back into her life.  Jenna starts reverting back to awkward childhood habits and is forced to examine her life as it stands.  Flashbacks into childhood and family relationships factor into the story with enough twists and turns to keep you reading the book through to the end.
          Melissa Coyne, Taquahmenon Falls School Public Library

[ To the top of this page ]

[ SPC Homepage ] | [preview@uproc.lib.mi.us ]